Meet Our Honored Hero- Madison!

Meet Our Honored Hero- Madison!

In early 2020, I noticed a strange lump on my neck. I didn’t think anything about it because for several months the lump didn’t hurt.  But right about the time that we all had to quarantine because of Covid, that lump in my neck started to hurt. So I went to the doctor to get it checked and that’s when my whole world stopped.  I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on April 23, 2020.

That day will forever be burned in my brain. I remember being in total shock when I heard the diagnosis. You always hear about cancer, but you never think it could happen to you.

I remember being confused and scared and just kept thinking “Why me?”  From that day my life changed. I underwent 4 cycles of chemotherapy and 14 days of radiation consisting of countless days in and out of the hospital. I had allergic reactions to a few of my chemotherapies. They caused me to stop breathing, at least once every cycle which was really scary. I hated chemo days!   I would get excruciating leg pain.  I couldn’t walk or sleep and I always felt yucky and sick. I was swollen and bloated, and then my hair started falling out in clumps on my bathroom floor. I remember the day I had to cut all my hair off. It was probably the day I cried the most.

I had a few friends that were there for me throughout treatment, but not a lot of them. This added emotional struggle on top of the physical struggle I was facing. Most of my friends never really texted, called, or came to visit. I spent a lot of days very upset and feeling sick. I couldn’t see many people because of Covid-19 so I felt even more isolated. Everyone always said to “stay positive”, but I wasn’t very good at it. My family was always super supportive of me and was always there to comfort me throughout my journey. Our faith also grew a lot throughout those few months. But it wasn’t until about halfway through treatment, when I got the good news that my chemo was working, that my mindset started to change. Now I had hope and I was in a much better mood.

After many miserable months of treatment, I am happy to say that today, I am in remission!  On Sept 10th, I celebrated my one year cancer free milestone, and I look forward to celebrating many more. Those tough days shaped me into who I am today.  Today, I’m the type of person who doesn’t sweat the small things, and I never take a day for granted. Our life on this earth is beautiful but short! I make sure to live every day like it’s my last. I always tried to continue doing what I loved. I am a competitive cheerleader, and to this day I have continued to cheer! I want to be an inspiration to others to not give up on what you love, no matter the obstacles.

I am honored to be the Man & Woman of the Year Honored Hero this year and am so thankful for the opportunity to share my story because we need more research for more treatment options and especially less toxic ones. That’s why I decided to participate and fundraise for Light the Night last year. By using Facebook and other events, I am excited to say, I was able to raise $69,151 for LLS to date!

I must live with a lifetime of scans due to long term effects from the treatments that helped save my life. We need to do better. No one should have to go through this.